Jump directly to the Content


What do you do with a parishioner who can be grateful/clingy/enamored--and you never know which it will be?

Pastor Ray Johnson and his wife, Helen, were overjoyed when Sally, their new parishioner, stated she never had found a fellowship as loving and supportive as First Christian. "In fact," Sally added, "never have I met a pastoral couple as caring and sensitive as you two." Sally, age 32, recounted how over the past ten years, other Christians had misunderstood and mistreated her repeatedly. Her intelligence, insight, and willingness to take on any task assured Ray and Helen that Sally was a fortunate addition to their small fellowship.

All went well for the first two months. Although Sally indicated her husband tried to prevent her from coming to church, she attended every service, often bringing her four children, ages 5 to 15. The Johnsons spent hours encouraging and counseling her. Sally would call at night after having seen the Johnsons for an hour or two during the day; she complained of her selfish and sadistic husband and praised the Johnsons for their understanding.

Three months after ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

A Leader's Private Prayers
A Leader's Private Prayers
When you've exhausted your knowledge, tap a deeper wisdom.
From the Magazine
Blessed Are Those Who Embody the Beautitudes
Blessed Are Those Who Embody the Beautitudes
As we search for meaning in the “blessings,” we must let them transform us.
Editor's Pick
Your Pastor Cares When You Don’t Care
Your Pastor Cares When You Don’t Care
Apathy ranked as the single biggest pastoral concern in 2022.